Canada is a significant step closer to marijuana legalization as the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-45 by a 56-30-1 decision. The Canadian Senate waited until the last possible day to pass the bill, having sat on the bill for months.
The sticking point is the 46 amendments the Senate attached to the bill. The House of Commons has to decide which amendments to keep. Even if the House changes one amendment, the bill will have to go back to the unelected Canadian Senate.
The original bill allows for home cultivation up to 4 marijuana plants. The Senate amendment allows provinces to prohibit home cultivation; Quebec and Manitoba are on board with banning home cultivation of cannabis plants.
There are 105 senators so there were a few who didn’t vote. Senator Linda Frum and Senator Nicole Eaton, both Conservative senators, were scheduled to abstain from the vote because they stand to profit from legalization. Our American readers might want to re-read the sentence since ethics and politicians aren’t something they are used to seeing together.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed 3 new senators in the week leading up to the vote. All 3 voted to approve the bill. There are still quite a few vacant spots in the Canadian Senate.
The bill has to go through the House and Senate once more before Parliament breaks for the summer on June 22. Bills need to be reintroduced if a bill is not passed before Parliament is adjourned.
We have noted in the past that the government will require several weeks once royal assent is reached before marijuana becomes legal in Canada.
Early autumn looks about right for a timetable, assuming no major snags occur, for recreational marijuana to be legally consumed.
photo credit: me